Davao City cancels Christmas, New Year feasts to condole with fire, flood victims

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Sunday, December 24, announced that the city government would cancel the Christmas feasts it had organized, saying recent tragic events made merrymaking inappropriate.

In a press conference, the mayor also said she had asked the city council to pass a resolution declaring Davao City under a state of calamity.

A body was recovered on Sunday morning from NCCC Mall of Davao, where a fire broke out Saturday morning and 37 persons had been trapped and are now feared to be dead. Authorities earlier said there is “zero” chance for the victims' survival

The mayor’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, met with families of those who perished in the Satruday fire. He was seen crying with and patting the backs of the relatives of the victims.

DAVAO FLOODING. Homes in a barangay in  Davao City are submerged in flood waters on Friday night, December 22, 2017. Photo by Mick Basa

DAVAO FLOODING. Homes in a barangay in Davao City are submerged in flood waters on Friday night, December 22, 2017.

Photo by Mick Basa

Before the tragedy, on Friday, thousands of residents were affected by floods, after Tropical Storm Vinta (Tembin) made a landfall in the neighboring province of Davao Oriental and passed through the rest of the Davao Region

Over 18,603 families in 25 barangays here have been affected by flooding, the mayor said on Sunday.

Among the holiday-related events called off were the Pasko Fiesta, a month-long celebration of Christmas in the city, and the New Year Eve's Torotot Festival, where residents gather to blow horns, as the city prohibits welcoming the New Year with fireworks.

“This is not the time for merrymaking,” Mayor Carpio told reporters.

On Christmas Day local legislators will conduct a special session to decide whether Carpio will be given authority to use Davao City’s remaining funds for disasters.

“I requested the city council to use the full amount of the remaining disaster fund,” she told reporters.

She earlier asked the city councilors to approve her proposals to send financial aid to several towns in the Visayas and Mindanao, which were also hit by calamities.

The mayor also called on the public to “avoid speculations” about the NCCC fire and wait only from official announcement from the Bureau of Fire Protection.

She has told the Lim family, owners of the mall, to refer the families of the missing people to the city government. “We will take care of everything for them,” she said. – Rapper.com